Saturday's 12k Garland Grip Classic on 3yr old Atomics w/fresh LJ03 stone grind by Zach Caldwell.
19F overnite, warming to a hot & sunny 54F. Start @ 11:30am under searing heat. Fastwax bronze + crack. No rill. Was not keen to rill that sweet structure. Turns out I could have done better with a rill. Toko Orange klister over a viola / multi-viola mix ironed on an ironed on binder for kick that you really had to wait for. 4 quick hills, herringboned 'em, back to fast turnover d-pole
Result: 6th overall, 2nd age. I just broke into the top 30, then the top 20 around here this year (!) Tremendously exciting. Best classic result ever.Very pleased.
Loved to see the grind doing its magic. I made hay on the d-pole sections. The klister did not reduce my speed at all. Denny Paull skied out of this world, and got 4:53 into me in the 11k, but thats fine. Other guys also had great races. This was a breakthru for me. Nice skis. Nice grind. Love the atomics again. Thats nice.
Sunday's 19k Garland Glide Freeestyle on SkiTrabs with Z30.5 (grind by Zach) with a swix coarse rill, and then a repeat rill to further the suction reduction (Thank You Ernie Brumbaugh). Crack by Zach (birkie full service) overnite low of 29 F just enough to set up the snow a good couple inches deep for the womens 10am start. Almost held on for our start @ 11:45am. (again sunny w/a hot high temp).
Concerned going in - lotsa guys who have pedigreed speed. All I've got is 50k fitness. Feeling intimidated.
Good start - 1k into it I am looking about 30 feet up, to the leader. (wow, a mind blower for sure). I am riding World Class Rockets !! So I'm in about 10th or so. I make all these audacious moves on skiers I have NEVER come close to beating. Passing them. College-race alums, the works. (I nearly felt apologetic, "Sorry but I'm on rockets over here, I'm just gonna slide by ya here on the left & see what happens.") Then I'm in about 6th or 7th, and I think, I can handle this pace. I move up !! I am in third place, thinking CRAZY thoughts, like, "If this keeps up, the leader is RIGHT THERE..." (you know, win - yes, I actually entertained thoughts. Very insane.) Riding draft very well, and QUITE easily.
So I stay with these guys, and let them pull me. In 3rd place. I cover every surge. I am able to stay out of the lead rotation (I like to call it progress). Then Don Camp comes around me, and I stay there, even in the hills, I AM STILL THERE !? I don't get it, but I like it. At the end of the hills Tom Wood comes round, and I try to hang on. There was a sustained surge. I hung on, but was losing contact. I was able to bridge up everytime previously. Was the pace or the heat getting to me ? Anyway, I came thru the lap in 6th place. Since it was beach weather, despite the mere 19k length, I knew I was going for a quick water @ the lap aid station. Don Camp harbored no such ideas, in fact he thought that would be a great time to drop things down a notch to see who he might shake off. Turns out - he shook me for good. But, once that gap opened, I maintained the gap for 2/3 of the lap, when the train turned it up, and I was unable to match it solo in the slight, but meangingful wind. The lead pack had a fantastic duel to the line with 4 skiers within 4 seconds !! Bravo well done. I was exactly 2 minutes back. I'd held off everyone else though !! What an amazing thrill of a weekend.
Afterwards I was able to see that the small white oval on the base was FILLED with grime. Kinda surprising, may have played a role. The Lord delivers and The Lord taketh away, eh !!
Still - Chris Weingartz told me that I INCREASED the gap on the SECOND lap to the pack of TWENTY skiers behind me. That is absurd. Those are good skis Zach (& Trab). What a blast. I don't want this ski season to end !